Reporting Tim Kephart
WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The eagerly awaited October jobs numbers from the Labor Department were released on schedule Friday and showed 171,000 jobs added in October with the unemployment ticking a notch higher to 7.9 percent.
The jobs report released Friday is the final one before Tuesday’s presidential election. It was also the last major hurdle for the Obama administration to get past before Tuesday’s vote.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report wasn’t as good as what the administration possibly was hoping for in October, but better than any possible job losses and fed into the theory that the recovery from the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression was ongoing, albeit slowly.
The BLS numbers also revised past month’s jobs numbers up. The August numbers were raised from 142,000 to 192,000 and the September numbers were lifted from 114,000 to 148,000. The increase of nearly 85,000 jobs could be a sign the recovery is accelerating faster than initially thought.
The Romney campaign took Friday’s report as an opportunity to slam the president’s economic record again. “Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill,” the campaign said in a statement.
Still, the numbers exceeded the forecasted job creation and the unemployment rate stayed in line with what economists were expecting.
The steady report is unlikely to make a significant difference in the presidential campaign this close to the election. The unemployment rate staying below 8 percent was welcome news to the Obama administration and the overall job creation was welcome by the Romney campaign.
In addition, with more than 22 million people having already cast their ballots, many in swing states, the report is unlikely to make any major changes to the overall race in the critical states.
The unemployment staying below 8 percent for the second consecutive month robbed Romney of a talking point throughout the campaign, but the Romney campaign pivoted from that to the point the economic recovery is too slow.
Romney has vowed to create 12 million new jobs while in office, but many of those jobs gains are over a vastly longer period than a four-year term and may never be realized. Some economists have predicted the economy will create that many jobs regardless of who is in the White House.
The candidates are in the home stretch of their campaigns, with Obama in Ohio and Romney in Wisconsin on Friday: